Help with the EU Settlement Scheme

The Government has issued an updated version of the employer tool-kit that helps EU citizens and their families applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.

The link below will take you to a government web page with link to the tool-kit.  That page also has links to other guidance, including how to communicate the facts of the Settlement Scheme with your employees.

Click here

Other Chamber information in relation to Brexit can be found here.

GCSE Results: Chamber Reaction

GCSE Results – 23 Aug 2018 – West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce Reaction

“We welcome the news today that GCSE pass rates have risen overall.  The announcement that standards are increasing – and also that the gap between boys and girls is narrowing – is good news for employers, although this is, of course, not the only measurement for a good route into employment.

“Achieving good exam results should be one of a range of criteria for employers to consider when looking at potential job applicants, although we of course want secondary education standards and outcomes to continue to rise.  The business community will continue to work with schools, colleges and others involved in education and training to push those attainment levels even higher, while many Chamber members are also becoming more involved in other ways to offer support, such as work experience and school talks.

“Other forms of help to get young people tooled up for the world of work are always being explored too, and they currently include tips with CV writing, job interviews and general presentation and attitude.”

The rise comes despite changes to GCSEs to make them tougher – with more demanding content, less coursework and a focus on exams at the end of two years.

NOTE: The pass rate in 2018 was 66.9% of all entries (from 66.4% last year).

17.4% of boys attained at least one grade A, compared with 16.4% last year.

71.2% of girls’ entries passed, compared to 62.1% of boys

Survey: Businesses are cautiously confident

Evidence that companies are looking to manage their costs more closely has emerged from a new survey.

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, which surveys its members every three months on economic trends, says that more companies have decided to hold onto their cash in recent months.

The Chamber says that, although sales growth remains strong in both domestic and foreign markets, more firms are taking a “cautious and sensible” approach to Brexit.  Increasing profits are also a good sign of confidence in the regional business community, but investment plans have stuttered.  Recruitment difficulties continue for some, though, with vacancies left unfilled due to a lack of suitable candidates coming forward for roles.

Mark Goldstone, Head of Policy & Representation at the Chamber, said: “Investment in training gives me cause for concern, as our results this quarter show this at close to its lowest level in years. These results, combined with the near collapse in companies taking on apprentices, should be a wake-up call to government to review the reforms introduced in the last year. Businesses want to make the system work, and train and up-skill people of all ages, but the system as it stands is in need of reform. The government needs to listen to the business community, and work with us to ensure more people have access to high-quality apprenticeship training, in order to make the new system work better for everyone.”

A summary of the key survey points follows:

Domestic sales and orders

Sales and orders remain relatively strong in home markets.  Fortunes look decidedly more positive than the lows of two years ago.  This time around, service sector firms saw a slight dip in sales but order books are buoyant.  Manufacturers were boosted by better sales.

Export sales and orders

Export sales continue their upwards trajectory in the last quarter from their historic low point in 2016. All sectors reported increases in the last three months.


Labour market concerns continue, with many firms reporting difficulties in finding suitably qualified and/or experienced candidates to fill roles. Fewer manufacturers than last quarter expect their workforce levels to increase next quarter, while more in the service sector expect that to be the case.


Investment intentions slowed a little over the last quarter for both training and capital.

Business confidence

Confidence remains at a good, solid level, despite member feedback about investment above and further on in the report.  Turnover and profit expectations are both substantially higher than they were two years ago and, although the service sector dipped a little this time around, confidence is generally quite good overall.

10-point plan to reform apprenticeship levy

Developing workforce skills

The British Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), has published a 10-point-plan aimed at government and business, to reform the Apprenticeship Levy system.

Upon publication of the plan, BCC said: “Addressing the growing skills gap is a joint responsibility for business, government and the education sector. Companies themselves must do more to invest in training, but to do that they need to be confident that the apprenticeship and training system is fit for purpose – particularly with regard to the apprenticeship levy and the implementation of new frameworks, where businesses have raised significant issues to government in recent months.”

The plan can be found online here.

Showcase your business at Dragon Boat Festival

Businesses have an upcoming opportunity to pitch themselves to some of the best Bradford talent of the future in a unique local event.

The National Dragon Boat Youth Championships at Bradford’s Dragon Boat Festival in June is a chance to showcase your business to hundreds of young people. The new education and careers zone on Friday 22 June will provide an already engaged audience of hundreds of youngsters from the UK’s youngest city and you could begin the conversation to help them make their own life changing decisions of the future, whether it’s through apprenticeships, work placements or employment.  You would also be alongside representatives from further and higher education, training schemes, employment and apprenticeship schemes and other businesses to enable networking and sharing of best practice.

Volunteer-led, community-created and charity-focused, Bradford Dragon Boat Festival takes place 22-24 June in Roberts Park, Saltaire.

The weekend is expected to attract 120 teams, 2,000 participants and 50,000 visitors with a media reach of 2 million.

Kersten England, Chief Executive Officer of Bradford Council, said: “This really is a not to be missed opportunity for businesses, educational institutions and careers organisations to all come together on the platform of a major event that is already capturing the imagination not just locally, but across the UK and now even globally.”

If you have something to offer young people and give them the best future possible, think about attending the festival youth day, Friday 22 June.

Click here for more info; or call 0845 293 0897

  • The Bradford Dragon Boat Festival has raised approx. £100,000 for good causes
  • It is a whole community festival, embracing Bradford’s diversity, ethnicity, culture and heritage
  • It has two major media partners, reaching millions

Bradford is now on the International Dragon Boat Federation’s calendar of events, with them particularly highlighting the UK Youth Championships.

Health & Well-being seminar – 6 June

The Beating Heart of the Economy

Local businesses are being made aware of an upcoming seminar to help promote occupational health.

The free event on 6 June is aimed at anyone involved in developing, implementing and managing health, safety and well-being; it is open to anyone but will be of particular interest to local employers.

The event has been organised by Bradford Area Occupational Health and Safety Forum (BAOHSF) and Bradford University and more information can be found on Eventbrite here.

It takes place at the university’s Norcroft Centre on Richmond Road.

Digital skills coaching session – Scarborough, 2 May

A Google Digital Garage event is set to be held at CU Scarborough, part of the Coventry University Group, on Wednesday May 2. The event, which is the only one in the county, has been organised by Yorkshire in Business and will provide essential information to help businesses succeed online.

Training will be delivered by specialist business advisers who will provide digital skills coaching including how to build a digital marketing plan, an introduction to digital advertising and how to use Google analytics. Yorkshire in Business has been providing business start-up advice and support for more than 30 years along the Yorkshire coast. The event is part of Google Digital Garage on Tour, which has seen workshops held in major towns and cities across the UK including Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle.

Jennifer Crowther, Head of Operations at Yorkshire in Business, said: “It is a great achievement to bring Google to offer this analytics training in the area. This is a fantastic opportunity for all those who are self-employed and running local businesses to develop their marketing skills and knowledge provided by Google themselves. Yorkshire in Business couldn’t provide this without the support from CU Scarborough.”

Tina Steele, Employer Engagement & Business Development Manager at CU Scarborough, said: “It is excellent to welcome Yorkshire in Business to CU Scarborough to deliver a Google Digital Garage workshop providing free support and advice to businesses across the area. Being successful online is essential in today’s modern business world, and the session will help those attending gain new skills and make the most out of the technology available to them. It will also be a good opportunity to meet with likeminded businesspeople and entrepreneurs. CU Scarborough is committed to helping grow the local economy, and this is just one of the ways we are connecting with and supporting businesses in the area. I would urge anyone looking for digital support to come along.”

The session will be held from 10am to 1.30pm and places can be booked here. Further information can be found by emailing


Museum breaks through half-million visitor barrier

Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, Bradford’s National Science & Media Museum attraction welcomed 505,000 visits, compared to 405,000 for the same period in 2016/17—a 25% increase, year-on-year.

Highlights from the past 12 months include the museum re-branding to focus on the science and culture of image and sound technology, opening a new permanent gallery—Wonderlab—and exhibiting Tim Peake’s spacecraft.

Director Jo Quinton-Tulloch said:

“We’re delighted that our hard work over recent years, which culminated in the launch of our new brand last March, along with a packed programme of new events and activities, has been so well received. It is an ongoing process, but we couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to our new chapter.

“We’ve worked more closely with colleagues in the Science Museum Group, our partners in the district and beyond, and we’ve listened to our visitors. As a result we now have a solid foundation for the future, and we’ve demonstrated the appetite for a dynamic, science-focused attraction here in the heart of Bradford.

“It hasn’t been an easy road to get to this point, but hopefully these figures show that we’re set for success in the long run. Rest assured we won’t be sitting back now.”

The museum’s programme for 2018 includes the major summer family exhibition Action Replay, an interactive exploration of the link between broadcasting technology in Britain and sports. From the earliest television and radio outside broadcasts, to the introduction of colour TV for the 1967 Wimbledon championships, and right up to current innovations such as ‘Ref Cams’, Action Replay will feature some of the key technological advancements that have been bringing fans closer to the sports they love over the past century.

Also in the summer, the museum will again organise the Bradford Science Festival, which last year saw 35,000 people engage with science-themed activities delivered by numerous partners and other organisations across the city centre.

In the long term the museum continues to focus on Sound and Vision, a major permanent gallery which will showcase the treasures of its collection—history-making objects that have changed how people see the world, from the first movie camera and some of the earliest photography and television equipment, to the explosion in internet streaming and social media.

The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened in 1983, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London. The museum explores the science and culture of image and sound technologies, creating special exhibitions, interactive galleries and activities for families and adults. It is home to three cinemas, including Europe’s first IMAX cinema screen and the world’s only public Cinerama screen outside the USA. Entry to the museum is free.

HR research: flexi-working and returner recruitment

HR Professionals are being requested to help with government research underway to understand employers’ views on the barriers to, and facilitators of, flexible working and returner recruitment.

What’s needed?   An hour’s interview time in April or May 2018.


The Government Equalities Office (GEO) has partnered with the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) to generate evidence on what works to improve gender equality in the workplace. Understanding employers’ views on flexible working and returner recruitment forms an important component of this work.

Who is targeted?

HR Directors (or those at an executive level) from organisations that:

  • Employ over 20 people
  • Do not currently run returner programmes
  • Operate in the following sectors: finance, STEM, retail and wholesale, manufacturing, professional services, creative industries, public sector, law, administrative or support services

Any information will support the research and will be treated as confidential and anonymous.

How to get in touch – email

Any questions – email

Chamber network reacts to government immigration statement

Commenting on the Home Office’s statement on UK immigration policy during the planned transition period following the UK’s exit from the European Union, Adam Marshall  of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The BCC has long campaigned for an immigration system that supports the economy, so the UK government’s unilateral offer of rights for EU nationals during the transition period is a big step in the right direction.

“Since the vote to leave the European Union, employers across the country have sought assurances and clarity on the status of existing EU workers and those that arrive during the transition, so they will be pleased to finally have answers. This announcement will remove significant short-term uncertainty for families, businesses and wider communities.

“The government’s announcement means that employers can hire EU nationals during the transition period without expensive and unnecessary compliance issues, which too often hinder the ability of firms to recruit talent from overseas when necessary.

“Business will be pleased that during a time of record-high labour shortages, the government is showing a pragmatic approach to immigration. Firms will want to see this realism embedded in future migration policy when the UK leaves the EU.”